THE FAMILY of a Wrexham dad who was missing for nearly two weeks criticised the police for their search at an inquest into his death. 

Mathew Williams, of Cristionydd, Penycae, was tragically found dead in Pant Glas reservoir, near Penycae, on November 3, 2023. 

The 32-year-old had been missing for 12 days - having first been reported missing by his mum, Andrea Lang, on October 2023. 

At an inquest held at County Hall in Ruthin on Thursday (June 27) into Mr Williams' death, family members were vocal in their criticism of North Wales Police for the manner of its search and lack of communication with them. 

Miss Lang, and Mr Williams' father, Adrian, said the police ignored the information that was being passed to them by family members. 

"If they had listened to us he would've been found days earlier," Miss Lang said. "And we wouldn't have had to face the irreparable trauma that we did in those 12 days."

The inquest heard that Mr Williams, a father of a 13-year-old girl, was initially categorised as being a medium risk missing person by the police on October 23. This was upgraded to high risk the following day due to information that they had received about his mental state, and because he was known to abuse drugs. 

A person being deemed high risk allows police extra search powers, including accessing their bank account and deploying search and rescue volunteers, the police helicopter and the dog unit. 

However, despite Mr Williams' case being upgraded - his family said police only checked his phone five days after he went missing. The inquest also heard that it was family, friends and other members of the public who found items of Mr Williams' clothing near to the reservoir. 

Mr Williams' trousers and underwear were found on November 1 and 2, and his trainers, jumper and bag were found on November 3 - the day his body was recovered from the water. 

"They (the police) didn't search for my son," Miss Lang said. "They didn't even do door-to-door on my street." 

Adrian Williams added that itrace (North Wales Police's missing person investigation system) "doesn't work". 

He said: "We were informed of a potential sighting of Mathew in Chirk caves. I rang itrace to ask if the sighting had been followed up, and was told no one had reported it.

"Myself and my sons went there and were running across aqueducts, putting ourselves at risk. We were then told by an off-duty police officer that they had searched the area earlier and that it wasn't Mathew who'd been spotted."

On November 3, a police underwater search team recovered Mr Williams' body from the reservoir - which was found intwined in dense pond weed. 

A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Williams had a high level of cocaine in his system. 

The inquest was told that Mr Williams had paranoid schizophrenia, and in the days before his disappearance he was in an agitated state and was hearing voices relating to God and the devil. 

Chief Inspector Stephen Roberts attended the inquest to give evidence. He said that officers now have new software that now allows them to update itrace logs immediately. 

John Gittins, senior coroner for North Wales East and Central, shared the concerns of family members.

"There needs to be that continuity of service," Mr Gittins said. "I will certainly take the learnings back with me," Inspector Roberts replied.

Mr Gittins recorded a conclusion of misadventure - with the cause of Mr Williams' death due to immersion in water.  

Mr Gittins said Mr Williams likely deliberately entered the water, but not with the intention of ending his life. He said potential cold-water shock, the effects of the cocaine and becoming entangled in the weeds would all likely have contributed to Mr Williams' death. 

He added that he would like to see better continuity and communication with family members whose loved one is missing, and was reassured that Inspector Roberts is to relay the concerns of Mr Williams' family to his officers. 

Paying tribute, Adrian Williams described his son as a "lovely lad" who "loved his daughter with all his heart" and that she was his "most prized possession".

Mr Williams was a seven-time junior Welsh karate champion and had many friends in the Penycae area.